Japan executes a guy in connection with a stabbing rampage in 2008.
According to local media, Japan killed a man on Tuesday who was convicted of killing seven people in a stabbing rampage in Tokyo’s famed Akihabara electronics neighborhood in 2008.
The Justice Ministry declined to confirm reports on NHK and other sites that Tomohiro Kato had been executed for the attack, which began with him driving a vehicle into a crowd.
On June 8, 2008, Kato went on a stabbing spree, telling authorities, “I came to Akihabara to murder people.” It didn’t matter who I was going to kill.”
Shortly after the assaults, in which he slammed a rented two-tonne truck into a throng of pedestrians before jumping out and randomly stabbing people, he was apprehended on the scene.
According to police, he chronicled his tragic voyage to Akihabara on Internet bulletin boards, sending messages on a mobile phone while driving and moaning about his precarious work and loneliness.
Kato, the son of a banker, grew up in the northern Japanese prefecture of Aomori, where he graduated from a prestigious high school. According to sources, he failed his university admission tests and subsequently trained as an auto mechanic.
Prosecutors claimed Kato’s self-esteem had plunged after an internet conversation partner unexpectedly ceased messaging him after he gave her an image of himself.
His rage at the general public intensified after his postings on an Internet bulletin board, including his plans to embark on a killing rampage, elicited no response, according to prosecutors.
While awaiting trial, Kato expressed his regret in a letter to a 56-year-old cab driver who was hurt in the stabbing spree.
According to a copy published in the Shukan Asahi weekly, the victims “were enjoying their lives, and they had dreams, bright futures, warm families, lovers, friends, and coworkers.”
The incident was Japan’s deadliest mass murder in seven years, and Kato was sentenced to death in 2011, a judgment affirmed by Japan’s highest court in 2015.
Kato’s execution is the first in Japan this year, following the hanging of three inmates in December 2021.
Japan is one of the few affluent countries that still uses the death sentence, and popular support for it remains strong despite worldwide condemnation, particularly from human rights organizations.
Executions are usually carried out by hanging, a lengthy time after the sentence has been passed.